Figuring out what content your site should feature and how it should be presented is the end goal for this entire course. The first step in doing that is to create a sitemap. To begin, download the “Sitemap Workbook” by clicking the link below:
When you open the sitemap workbook you will find the first tab of the workbook features the “Optimized Sitemap Ideal Example”. This example presents an information architecture that takes maximum advantage of opportunities to structure content in a way that reinforces topics themes and is geared toward building out a very deep content resource. Notice that each row presents the Page Name in bold, then the relative URL (meaning the part of the URL string that comes after the domain), and the full URL. It is structured this way because in a modern CMS like Drupal or Wordpress, if you are going to create a URL alias then you will only enter the portion of the URL that comes after the domain. In the Optimized Sitemap Ideal Example tab, an equation is used to automatically combine the relative URL with the base URL to create the full URL.
The second tab in the sitemap workbook presents what is a Common Sitemap Example. While a site with this type of structure doesn’t maximize it’s opportunity to build out content with thematic categorization, it is a common URL structure and is certainly acceptable.
These two sitemap examples are just to help you understand the ideal structure for a well optimized website. Most website owners never create a well-organized sitemap, but this is a critical step in the planning process and for managing the project throughout implementation.
Here’s What You Do…
- The first thing to do, is go to the Aggregated Sitemap tab, and in cell A1, enter the URL for the homepage of your website. Remember to include a trailing / after the .com (or whatever TLD extension you are using such as .org, .net or whatever).
- Next go over to column B, starting in Row 2, and begin to list all of the top categories, and any sub-categories that you have on your site. In the cell to the right of the page name, make sure to enter the relative URL for that page.
If you have a website that is already live, then this should be easy. However, your goal should not be to just replicate the pages that you have and where they currently live. Take what you have learned to this point in this course and restructure your pages to an ideally optimized structure.
If you do not yet have a live website, then this is a brainstorm session.
Try to create a sitemap structure that follows the Optimize Sitemap Ideal Example structure as closely as possible. However, if you opt for the more common sitemap structure, simply keep in mind that you want to create an information architecture that supports categories and content themes.
Now that you have brainstormed your own ideas…
Let's Take The Best Of What
Your Competitors Have To Offer!
Next In the next lesson we will take a look at the site architecture of your competitors. If you are going to demonstrate to search engines and your target audience that your website is the best resource available in your niche, then you have to offer everything your competitors are and more!